Burlington, VT – Members of the greater Burlington community announced today the launching of Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington. Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington has been building networks with social justice groups in Burlington and across the state since the fall of 2017. The goal of the organization is to address institutional racism and racial disparities at all levels of Vermont society including policing, education, employment, and government representation. “We want to ensure that Vermonters of color, like all Vermonters, enjoy their freedom, justice, and peace uninhibited” says Jabari S. Jones, the group’s spokesperson.
“We are Vermonters, and congruent with the values of most Vermonters, we work to end institutionalized racism and all forms of discrimination. We aim to address everything that undermines the rights, freedoms, and potential of marginalized communities so that all lives will truly matter in this beautiful state,” says Jones. Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington is led by the POC Caucus, a diverse group of people of color. BLM of Greater Burlington also includes a Caucus of white-identified people whose members and leadership share the same commitment to justice. This framework of establishing a POC Caucus and a white Caucus working in synergy reflects a new trend in racial justice organizing to create greater accountability and focus. The caucuses focus on building collective leadership with accountability and transparency, community, and healing towards collective liberation.
The POC Caucus was responsible for the initial call for a rally in South Burlington earlier this month to protest Patriot Front, a local white supremacist group. The rally gathered around 200 people from the area. As an organization, with many active members in our local colleges, we work closely with college students and staff against racist intimidation, fascist recruitment, and terroristic threats. Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington is also active in the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, supports the passage of H.794, and works closely with community members and students to address the impact of institutional racism in stunting the potential of children of color and the possibilities for growth for all children. “We know that no one is born racist and that racism is learned and as such, can be unlearned,” says Jones. Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington meets monthly and welcomes new members who want an active role in dismantling institutionalized racism in Vermont.